SNL made a wise choice in inviting Ariana Grande to host and be the musical guest. Grande’s double duty stint was on top form, making this the best episode of 2016 hands down. While most of the Internet went stupid over the one-arm jacket wardrobe malfunction during her first number,none of the site gave credit to Ariana for knocking it out of the park. Apart from a funny open and a great first number, the rest of the show was clever, funny, and (in terms of the feminist song) catchy as hell.
Despite Larry David messing up Ariana’s name when introducing her first musical spot, the former Nickelodeon star and singer proved that despite a dangling jacket the girl’s got singing chops for days son. Grande also manages to kill it in the sketches and let’s face it; girl’s got comedy, yo. (Sorry could not resist that one after re-watching the Maria sketch.)
Leaving the Scream Queens actress for a moment, Weekend Update totally rocked it out. On point political gags, Cecily Strong killed it as “The Drunkest Contestant on the Bachelor” (and Jost was no slouch during the skit with his warning about Leslie Jones) and the crazed smile, and Jost’s corpsing at it was a priceless finish.
Kate McKinnon continued as the comedy pin-up gal for SNL with her Hilary/Bern morph and her blob-maid bit (a real OMG too funny moment, that almost outshone “Weekend Update”) was beyond hysterical and proved that this woman is the definition of funny.
The big surprise was Ariana’s impression skills, not only doing a pitch-perfect Jennifer Lawrence, but killing Britney Spears, Rihanna, Whitney Houston, Shakira, and Celine Dion before being sent for coffee by Jay Pharaoh’s “Jay Z.”
Grande has done her crowd pleasing party trick before on the Jimmy Fallon show, but SNL took her talents and amped the heck out of them. Where the surprise comes in is that she was just as spot on the second time around, proving her gig on Fallon’s show was no fluke.
Sidenote: Ariana’s Whitney brought both goosebumps and a huge lump to this reviewers throat…Wow.
The SNL opening monologue, where Keenan Thompson came to crack a joke with his fellow Nickelodeon alumnus, was brilliant. The song was pithy, funny and a great nod and wink to the naughty Miley and Justin, et al.
Keenan and Ariana shared the stage again on the “Family Feud” skit where Thompson did his Steve Harvey and Grande did her Jennifer Lawrence. While she killed it, the rest of the SNL players did their caricatures of famous people. It should be noted that Pharaoh did pretty decent gangster Brit, blood.
This was Saturday Night Live on fire. A return to the days when the episode was so well paced and spot on that it ended far too quickly. It has been some time since the show really finished on a “leave em wanting more” note.
It seems that allowing the tiny (five feet nothing) talented dynamo to do double duty gave the writers a much needed shot of comic adrenaline. For the first time in a while, the show outdid the political “cold open” and it was like old times.
Ariana Grande should be allowed to host, and sing, repeatedly. Which brings us back to “Bye, bye, bye, bye, Maria out.”